MICROSOFT'S EFFORTS to change the way we use computers is gathering momentum, as more of its hardware partners release their products based on Tablet PC technology. The latest to arrive in PC Advisor's Test Centre is Toshiba's Portege 3500.
The Portege is truly portable, measuring 290x230x30mm and weighing less than 2kg. It's a 'convertible' Tablet PC, which means it can be used as a standard notebook with full keyboard and trackpad. But the screen is hinged which means you can flip it around so it hides the keyboard — this is the so-called Tablet mode.
Write on target
Using a special pen on the touch-sensitive screen in Tablet mode, you can select objects and move around onscreen as you would with a mouse. A tap is equivalent to a left-click, while holding down a button on the side of the pen activates a right-click.
Windows XP Tablet PC edition is geared up for getting the most out of Tablet PC devices and features built-in handwriting recognition. Instead of the keyboard, you write into the Input panel docked to the bottom of the screen. Your scrawl is then transcribed into the document you're working on. Alternatively, you can use the Journal application to jot down notes as if you were writing on a pad and then either keep the notes as they are or import them as text into emails or Word documents.
Practice makes perfect
While it wasn't perfect, we were impressed by the accuracy of the handwriting recognition engine — helped, no doubt, by the sensitivity of the Portege's screen. Getting the device to behave how you want it to takes some effort, but feels natural after a while.
View: The full review
News source: The Inquirer